Sometimes an act’s nom de plume can work perfectly, aptly summing up their style and reputation in three words or fewer. This isn’t the case with Pedestrian. His “Hei Poa” release on Push Run showcased muffled terror and beautiful melody, “Hoyle Road”, replete with his own Sampha-esque vocals, was overflowing with shimmering emotion. His initial tracks with 2nd Drop Records – the booming pirate radio remix of DjRUM’s “Mountains Pt 1” and the mutant funk of “Sliding Down Rainbows” – exposed another side to his talents entirely, proving an ability and willingness to dip his toe in any waters. With “Kalakuta/Ndizi”, his debut release on 2nd Drop, he’s taken things south to Africa.
“Kalakuta” opens with the sound of an oncoming train, shuffling percussion that hints at forward motion and restless energy. The track is a collaboration with Luke Tomkinson, aka Jasperdrum, a childhood friend of Pedestrian’s. “The track came about by Luke coming over to mine with a load of loops he’d been working on, one of them being the beginnings of ‘Kalakuta’, so we spent a couple days on it and out came the track,” says Pedstrian. “I’d had these African vocals lying around that I wanted to use for ages but they never seemed to sit right with anything but worked perfectly with this.” Those African vocals, that recall Shackleton vs Kasai Allstars’ “Mukuba Special”, combine with a world of exhilarating percussion, piano stabs, space-age sci-fi effects and moody drones. With percussion as subtle as this it’s hard to imagine this track going off at peak time, but it certainly sets a definitive mood. That said, loop those drums and chugs and we’re in techno heaven. Check out the 2nd Drop sixth birthday mix for fabric to hear it cued to perfection.
Flip track “Ndizi”, from Pedestrian solo, is a trippy, jukey take on the southern continent. Using the same bank of African vocals, it jacks things up to a frenzied 160bpm, throwing glacial, ghostly grime stabs against the sound of full-on sub-Saharan tribal gatherings. Picture fires and witchdoctors, wild abandon and ritual possession. Smooth housey synths wash away the more frightening aspects of that scene, as the sound of a twisted flute meets birdsong and plucked strings at the track’s mid point. Thundering sub-bass jerks the track back into motion, before the birds return and the demonic is left aside. This one bangs hard, make no mistake, but it’s more than just a senseless assault. Back in March we said that “Sliding Down Rainbows” was a highlight among highlights on the 2nd Drop showcase collection “Future Foundations”, and it’s clear from this latest release that Pedestrian is only beginning to show us what he can do. He’s sure to keep things moving.
Stream: Pedestrian – Kalakuta/Ndizi Clips (2nd Drop Records)
Pedestrian – Kalakuta/Ndizi is out on 2nd Drop Records on July 29. Order here.